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TO   THE   LIGHTHOUSE

for which she felt intense gratitude; for nothing
so solaced her, eased her of the perplexity of life,
and miraculously raised its burdens, as this sub-
lime power, this heavenly gift, and one would no
more disturb it, while it lasted, than break up the
shaft of sunlight lying level across the floor.

That people should love like this, that Mr.
Bankes should feel this for Mrs. Ramsay (she
glanced at him musing) was helpful, was exalting.
She wiped one brush after another upon a piece
of old rag, menially, on purpose. She took
shelter from the reverence which covered all
women; she felt herself praised. Let him gaze;
she would steal a look at her picture.

She could have wept. It was bad, it was bad,
it was infinitely bad! She could have done it
differently of course; the colour could have been
thinned and faded; the shapes etherealised; that
was how Paunceforte would have seen it. But
then she did not see it like that. She saw the
colour burning on a framework of steel; the light
of a butterfly's wing lying upon the arches of a
cathedral. Of all that only a few random marks
scrawled upon the canvas remained. And it
would never be seen; never be hung even, and
there was Mr. Tansley whispering in her ear,
" Women can't paint, women can't write . . ."

She now remembered what she had been going
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